Friday, February 27, 2015

Out of the Comfort Zone

I think it's easy for creative types to get stuck in a rut. You call yourself a fantasy writer, so all you write are fantasy stories. You like landscape photography more than portrait photography, so you only take photos of landscapes. You only like musical theater, so you don't even audition for a straight show.

Raise your hand if you've found yourself doing this! *Sheepishly raises hand*

For a long time, I only wrote stories set in one world where magic and technology were sort of on the same playing field and there were lots of fantasy creatures to play with, and multiple cultures to explore. I was comfortable there and it was great starting point, but I think it eventually started to stifle my creativity.

There's this tendency to cling to what we find comfortable and easy, but that isn't really where good art comes from (whatever your definition of 'good art' is). Art comes from pushing our comfort zones, experimenting, trying new things that scare us. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, and that's okay. What matters is that we try and we learn from the attempt.

It's scary to put ourselves out there and try a new genre or medium or whatever. It can be downright terrifying! But I think it's important that we all try to stretch ourselves when we can. This podcast wouldn't exist without the three of us jumping in and trying something new!

So take some time and explore a new art. If you're the fantasy writer, try writing scifi or steampunk or mystery. If you're a landscape photographer, grab a friend and ask them to model for you and look at the interplay of light and how the model can interact with their surroundings. If you're the musical theater person, look around for some good ol' Shakespeare in your area.

Take the risk. Try something new. You never know--your best work might come out of it, or you might find a new passion!

Emily is doing her best to take this advice and is writing and reading things she wouldn't have even considered a few years ago. It's scary, but she's trying!

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